Experts: Enhanced multilateral ties in digital areas, energy mutually beneficial
China is expected to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with the five Central Asian countries and member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and further tap potential of the complementarity in trade and economics, especially in areas such as energy and green development, said government officials and experts.
The Ministry of Commerce is willing to join with economic and trade counterparts in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to propel economic and trade cooperation, said the minister Wang Wentao.
Wang made the remarks at the China-Central Asia Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum held via video link on Monday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the five Central Asian countries.
"In the past three decades, China and the five Central Asian countries have been deepening pragmatic cooperation in economics and trade. We have established comprehensive, energetic and mutually beneficial economic and trade ties," Wang said.
The SCO member states include China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and four from Central Asia－Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said economic and trade cooperation between China and those countries, especially between China and the Central Asian countries, is expected to expand as it is driven by mutual benefits.
During the forum, an initiative on high-quality sustainable development of China-Central Asia economic and trade cooperation was released. It reached broad consensus on jointly expanding cooperation in areas such as trade, investment and green development.
Zhou suggested China and those countries enhance cooperation on digital economy and energy, such as oil and gas trade, petrochemical processing and carbon emissions controls.
"Such efforts are not only key for them to further tap industrial potential, but also for China to strengthen related development momentum of the economy," he added.
Wang said China's trade value with the five Central Asian countries has surged by more than a hundredfold in the past three decades.
Outbound direct investment from China to the five countries exceeded $14 billion and many major projects have been implemented to help with industrial upgrades, interconnection construction and improving livelihoods, Wang said.
Data from the MOC showed the combined trade between China and the five countries surged by 25 percent year-on-year to $44.6 billion during the first 11 months of 2021.
The value between China and Kyrgyzstan grew the fastest at 131 percent, to $6.3 billion. For Kazakhstan－the largest trading partner for China among the five countries－the figure rose by 15 percent to $23 billion.
The MOC has also launched a livestreaming e-commerce campaign to help SCO member states export specialties to China. The event is part of an almost monthlong national online shopping gala lasting through Feb 7 for the upcoming Spring Festival holiday.
Big-name e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and TikTok have been inviting officials of the SCO Secretariat and diplomats of SCO countries based in China to promote their products through videos or through in-person participation at livestreaming-based shopping events.